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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 284:163-171 (2004)  -  doi:10.3354/meps284163

Distributional patterns of macro- and megafauna associated with a reef of the cold-water coral Lophelia pertusa on the Swedish west coast

L. G. Jonsson1,2,*, P. G. Nilsson1,2, F. Floruta1,2, T. Lundälv2

1Department of Marine Ecology, Göteborg University, 2Tjärnö Marine Biological Laboratory, 452 96 Strömstad, Sweden

ABSTRACT: In this study the distributional pattern of the macro- and megafauna of a small (ca. 300 m2) Lophelia pertusa (L., 1758) reef was studied with a ROV (remotely operated vehicle). The reef is situated in a shallow fjord off the Swedish west coast. The number of taxa and their abundance in transects from the reef itself and from 3 zones (Zone 1 = 50 m, Zone 2 = 100 m and Zone 3 = 200 m) around the reef were compared. Both the number of taxa (from 30 to 33 transect-1) and the abundance of individuals (from 21 to 7 m-2) decreased with increasing distance from the reef. Divided into ecological guilds, predators and filter-feeders decreased with distance from the reef (predators from 7 to 0.3 ind. m-2, and filter-feeders from 13 to 6 ind. m-2 from Zone 0 to Zone 3), while deposit-feeders increased with increasing distance from 0.04 to 0.4 ind. m-2 from Zone 0 to Zone 3. Sessile species decreased more with increasing distance than mobile species, from 19 to 7 ind. m-2 and from 1 to 0.7 ind. m-2, respectively. Our results also show that small deep-water coral reefs enhance local biodiversity, but the advantage to individual species depends on their mode of feeding and mobility.

KEY WORDS: Lophelia pertusa · Associated fauna · Remotely operated vehicle · Deep-water coral

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